Windows remains overwhelmingly the most used computer operating system in the world. And an important perk of operating with Windows 10 on your PC is the sheer range of options when choosing a VPN.
Pretty much every Virtual Private Network on the web caters to Windows users, which means you get your pick of options and features. However, with a massive selection of possible VPNs for PC available, that only makes choosing one more difficult.
Luckily, as ever, we are here to help - we've picked out the five best Windows 10 VPNs that make the perfect privacy partner for your PC.
How to choose the best Windows 10 VPN for PC
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, is a significant improvement in terms of security and protection over previous incarnations (some people even argue that you don't really need a Windows 10 antivirus any longer). Even so, there are some widely discussed, controversial privacy issues pertaining to the OS, and what’s more you can never be ‘too’ secure, let’s face it.
Then there’s the matter of pricing as not every service is worth the money they’re asking. Sometimes paying a little bit extra ensures a superb experience, but other times a more affordable service still provides the optimal quality. But we’ve done all the legwork and selected our five favorite VPN options for Windows across various different categories. You won’t go wrong with any of these.
1. ExpressVPN is the best Windows 10 VPN for PC
ExpressVPN takes the title of our very favorite VPN overall, so it's no surprise that it's a fantastic fit for your Windows 10 PC. Offering speedy connections, servers in more than 90 countries and stellar 24/7 live chat support, it ticks all the boxes plus, you can now get it with 3 months extra free.
2. IPVanish - nicely designed VPN for Windows PCs
IPVanish has been a trusted name in the VPN world for some time now and the experience it gives to Windows users is a real Rolls-Royce service. We really like the smart charts and super simple Quick Connect starting menu. And one sub covers you for as many devices as you can handle.
3. NordVPN - a focus on Windows security
Nord's enormous reputation is largely staked around the security smarts it has on offer. Plenty of protocols (including the all new WireGuard), Double VPN, 'Onion over' privacy and a no-logging policy audited yearly by PricewaterhouseCooper should give you the peace of mind you require when using the internet anonymously.
The best Windows 10 VPN for PC in 2020 is:
ExpressVPN is our top pick for the best all-round VPN and specifically for Windows 10. It offers an impressive level of server coverage with 160 VPN locations across 94 countries, and it’s a P2P-friendly service too. During testing, we witnessed outstanding performance for local servers, withvery decent results for long-distance connections as well.
The Windows 10 client boasts an excellent UI packed with a bunch of features including server recommendations, multiple VPN protocols, and kill switch technology. A convenient bonus is the ability to control the VPN from browser extensions, and a special mention goes to the split tunneling feature, which is great for torrenting or restricting the VPN connection to a single browser.
We like that the dedicated Windows app enables changing servers without manually closing the current connection, improving ease of use. And the easy-to-use interface now displays 'recent servers' on the main window, making it easier to reconnect.
That's not all - ExpressVPN's Windows client really does cater to so many PC users' needs. Take the Smart Location feature, which automatically hooks you up with your closest server, for example. And just nice little extra touches, like the quick way you can change location using the system tray icon.
Simply put, ExpressVPN has the lot and is an easy choice as our number one pick VPN for PCs.
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You can tell that we really rate Express - it's the VPN we use in the TechRadar office! And it's hard to argue with the provider's 30-day money-back guarantee. Plus, our readers can get a little perk when you sign up, too, as ExpressVPN has agreed to give you three months extra FREE when you sign up for a year.
This VPN features a well-designed client, which really seems to have given proper thought on how to best cater to PC users and offers a wide array of both basic and advanced settings, with enough options to satisfy even expert tinkerers. IPVanish is one of the best for torrenting and other P2P traffic, as well.
You really get the feeling that IPVanish's designers wanted to give Windows 10 users even more, with natty download speed graphs and a Quick Connect starting menu that gives you loads of neat features at your fingertips. There's an excellent kill switch, too - just so as you remember to turn it on, as it's off by default.
The Windows client is also available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Russian and Hindi.
In our testing, we witnessed a significant increase in download speeds (close to 20%) which is fantastic, obviously. IPVanish has a firm no logs policy in place, and more than adequate protection with 256-bit encryption over OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, and L2TP protocols, as well as a firing kill switch.
NordVPN is a mainstay on many ‘best of’ lists for several good reasons – although the one that matters most is its tight security. The service offers a certain number of ‘Double VPN’ servers which pass your data through two separate VPN servers, not just one, which makes things even more secure. You can also route its encrypted traffic over the Tor network, adding another layer of security, along with the existing KEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP protocols. The kill switch works nicely, too.
The Windows client is easy-to-use and fast to set up, featuring a compact interface that has all the essentials and then some (although there are minor issues with the UI, so for example, you’ve got to resize the client window to access mid-European servers).
NordVPN is P2P-friendly and has a ‘zero logs’ policy. The performance of this VPN is above-average, too. There's a 30-day money back guarantee and NordVPN is rather affordable (aside from the monthly subscription), offering numerous plans with the best value option being the multi-year plan.
CyberGhost offers a very powerful client that still manages to be somewhat easy to use thanks to an interface that our reviewer describes as clean and lightweight. It also has many features for both newbies and experts alike.
Like ExpressVPN above, CyberGhost makes smart use of the system access tray for quickly connecting to different servers. There are several protocols to choose from and the kill switch is effective. But it's worth noting that some added extras - like the ad blocker - really cause a strain on the system.
Like most providers, you won't find a free trial with this VPN but apart from the expensive monthly plan, the subscription is quite cost-effective, and you get a 45-day money back guarantee.
Although Surfshark has plenty going on which to recommend it, the pros above really do sum up its main selling points in a nutshell.
First off, just take a look at the pricing. If you're happy to commit to Surfshark's services for a couple of years, then no other provider touches it for value. Especially when you also note that a single subscription will cover as many devices as you can handle - so add your Mac, mobile, tablet, router, TV streaming device and many more to using it on your PC.
And on top of all that, Surfshark is a ridiculously easy VPN to set up. Once you've got the thing paid for and downloaded, even inexperienced Windows 10 users will have it up and running in no time at all (although there's less meat on the bones for power users who really want to tinker with their settings).
We really love the extra care and attention that has been paid to Windows 10 VPN users here. The interface adapts like a responsive website as you resize its window. It may sound like a simple thing, but you really notice it - especially if you've experienced VPN providers with clunkier clients.
Underpinning all that is your choice of OpenVPN, IKEv2 and Shadowsocks security protocols, private DNS, AES-256 encryption, and a ready and waiting kill switch in case your connection drops. While if your priority is more about getting a VPN for streaming, then you'll be interested in its power to let you watch your Netflix or iPlayer catalogues from wherever on Earth you happen to be.
What can I do with a VPN on my PC?
Although VPNs started life as a way to share data securely, they have become a lot more broad in their usage. If you use your Windows 10 laptop as a portable multi-media device, for example, you can geo-spoof your PC's IP address to other regions of the world to make sure your don't miss out on your favorite content when abroad - or even catch films, TV and sport that is shown in other countries but not yours.
Virtual private networks have also become a key tool in unlocking restricted websites on PCs (just one of the reasons why VPNs in China have become so popular, with the likes of Google, Facebook, BBC, CNN and more being blocked there).
There are plenty more ancillary VPN uses you can explore, too - you can discover more by clicking the link.
Does Windows 10 have a built in VPN?
Windows 10 does indeed have a VPN built-in with point-to-point tunneling protocol to give your PC an extra layer of security.
But it can't hep you with all the other use cases that we've described above and has limited features. What's more, it's rather complicated to get set up and requires a deep dive into your network settings and probably even some tinkering with your router. In contrast, the VPNs listed above can get you protected within seconds, are supremely easy to use and only cost a few dollars a month.
How do I set up a VPN on my PC computer?
Once you've chosen the ideal VPN for your PC, getting started is ridiculously easy. We've gone into it in some detail in our dedicated guide to how to set up a VPN, but anybody - from inexperienced Windows 10 users to absolute pros - can get going with ease. Head to the website of your chosen provider and it will guide you to the download page for Windows. Once downloaded and installed, most VPN clients have a big fat 'On' button that you just can't miss and will give you a long list of countries from which to choose your server.